Poem: Becoming Joanne

I wrote this poem in response to a prompt from Silver Birch Press for their “All About My Name” series. They kindly included it in their series and I posted the link, so some of you may already have read it, but I know some people don’t click on links, so I am posting the poem here today. I hope you like it.

Becoming Joanne
 – by Joanne Corey

If my grandfather Giovanni
had not fled the Old Country
before the Great War,
I might have been Giovanna
or piccola Giovanina.
Born in 1960s New England,
I was Joanne —
one word —
small a —
with an e —
to avoid confusion with four classmates
who answered to that common name.

When I was eighteen,
my Latin teacher derived and gave
meaning to my name:
Joanne —
feminine of John —
from Hebrew –
variously translated as
God is gracious- —
Gift of God —
God’s gracious gift.
A daunting aspiration
as I began adulthood.

After decades of striving
to fulfill the promise,
to be worthy of my name,
in my sixth decade,
wisdom dawns.
God freely gifts grace.
I AM,
have always been,
will always be
Joanne —
God’s gracious gift —
living out a universal call.

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